32 or 36 rifle


January 19, 2011, 03:10 PM
Will there be any real difference in a .32 or.36 cal. ML rifle?

It will be used for punching paper some small game up to turkey.

Will either be any easyer to load,clean, or anything else?

Will either be any cheaper to feed or give more projectile choices.

Which would yall prefer?

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January 19, 2011, 03:31 PM
reading from my lyman black powder handbook and loading manual

The 36 has nothing on the 32 for small game and mountain birds.Due
to its heavier round ball,however along with conicals,wild turkey
and javelina hunters may find it preferable to its little brother.

just for consideration the 38 calibur ML uses the same ball as the 36 revolver if you own any 36 revolvers

it would mean one less ball you would need to keep

January 19, 2011, 03:46 PM
The .32 is very effective for a lot of small game but for some reason I prefer the .36 myself.
It's sort of like the .22lr verses the .22 magnum rimfire rounds.
For punching paper the .36 punches larger holes, has a louder crack when fired and will just feel a little more potent for reaching out.
It should buck the wind a little better at longer range too.
The smaller diameter balls are just a little bit more tedious for some to handle with or without larger fingers.
If someone wanted to mostly hunt squirrels and rabbits then the .32 does plenty enough damage and is an old time favorite.
But there's something about the .36 that just provides a little extra substance and satisfaction when I'm shooting it anyway.
It provides a loud enough report to let you know that you're shooting it.
Some folks may say that the smaller bore gets dirtier and fouled faster too, but that mostly depends on the powder and barrel length.
The .36 bore is about as small as I want to go for bore and ramrod accessories.
Plus there's even .36 sabots that are made to fit a .311 - .314 bullet.


I don't think that anyone would be going wrong with either caliber. It's mostly about personal preference and rifle availability anyway. :)

January 19, 2011, 03:54 PM
I believe you will have far fewer problems with BP fouling after just a few shots in the larger .36 bore.
And even less with a .45 or .50 cal.


January 19, 2011, 04:22 PM
methinks using a 45/50/54 ml for small game is just way too much over kill....
I do have one of the rare TC Cherokee's..in 32....and with the cast soft lead "real" bullet......has some serious inpact on the small critters...up to and including deer...when proper shot placement is taken....rb for everything else for those small meals........and just for fun...have the five shot pocket police pistol..in the same caliber...just for grins up close

January 19, 2011, 04:41 PM
Did not know .38 was an option. The 32/36 rifles I am looking at are in the $450 to $650 range. Are there .38s in the same price range?

Is the report of the .32s in the 22mag. range? If so this would give me much more opertunity to shoot it.

January 19, 2011, 04:55 PM
sorry i have never owned or looked to purchase one I was just reading out of
my blackpowder reloading manual and thought i would pass on that bit of info
about the 38s im sure they are available somewhere but not comman by the looks of it.

if i did want a small calibur ML i realy would look for a 38 so the balls would be compatable with my 36 cal revolvers.

Black Toe Knives
January 19, 2011, 05:13 PM
Why not use a Black Powder shotgun for small game. Many places wont allow rifles for turkey or birds.

January 19, 2011, 05:24 PM
Is the report of the .32s in the 22mag. range? If so this would give me much more opertunity to shoot it.

Well maybe with a max. type load for the .32, it is somewhat similar to the .22 magnum in actual velocity and report, but my comparison was just an analogy. The smaller .32 balls do lose their energy more quickly at longer range than the .36's.

Maybe I should have said their difference is like that between the .38 Special and the .357 Magnum (another analogy).
They have different energy levels, powder capacities, projectile weights and penetration potentials.
Some folks think that the .40 is one of, if not the fastest, flattest and accurate shooting round ball calibers at 100 yards. The .36 is a little closer to that than the .32, but not that it really matters to anyone but the shooter.

January 20, 2011, 08:14 AM
Got a pair of the TC Cherokees..and they are both fun. The 32 can be shot all day for pennies and the 36 just a little more. I use a ball that weighs around 34 grains with 30 grains of FFFg in the 32 and I go 40 or so with the 36.

Biggest differrence is loading. The rod for the 32 is really spindly. I make loading rods of hickory dowell and had to really look hard to find one with straight enough grain to hold up. The long starter is a real necessity.

I'd like to find a maxi mould for the 36 but only to play with. Wouldn't be legal for deer in my state anyway, nor can we use a rifle for turkey. Woodchucks, yeah.

January 20, 2011, 09:33 AM
For squirrels, rabbits, 'coons, ground hogs, etc. the .32 is mighty hard to beat. Cheap to shoot to..PS-Hard to beat if one is looking for and is partial to a light caliber rifle....

January 25, 2011, 11:23 AM
Thanks everyone.

As usual, the insight and knowledge of the people here is 2nd to none.

January 25, 2011, 04:40 PM
I own and shoot both the .32 and .36; the .32 is percussion and the .36 is flint. The myth that small bores foul worse than larger bores is just that, a myth. I can shoot mine for an entire afternoon without wiping the bore. The .32 is a lot like the .22mag except that it's killing power is greater. The .36 is even better for range and power. It leaves the .22mag in the dust and kills all out of proportion to it's size. I use the same load in both - except the .36 rb is 20 grains heavier. Thus, they cost about the same to feed with no advantage going to either on that score. Both work great on any small game but the .36 can handle varmint sized critters much more easily. The .36 is a better turkey round.

If all you want is something for squirrels, rabbits and the occasional raccoon, the .32 will do fine. But if you want to be ready for coyotes and the larger varmints, the .36 has that extra power.

January 25, 2011, 08:15 PM
I have the TC Seneca rifle in .36 and it's a great shooter for jackrabbits and such. The unique thing about the .36 is you can stuff .38 caliber (.357") hollowbased wadcutters down the barrel, which perform quite well!!!

January 25, 2011, 08:42 PM
Just ran across a post by Myamoto regarding fouling or the lack of in his .32 and .36. I have a Blue Ridge .32 with 42" bbl. and have terrible fouling problem with Goex FFFg. Just picked up some triple 7 FFFg and will try that, but if there is an answer to my fouling problem, I'm all ears.

January 25, 2011, 09:27 PM
You're on the right track switching to 777. The smaller calibers benefit the most from using it, especially the .32.

January 25, 2011, 10:13 PM
Thanks Arcticap. Got some on the shelf but thermometer didn't cooperate. Like Ron White says, "This place doesn't seem to have a temperature". Waiting for a warm-up.

January 25, 2011, 10:29 PM
An annual ritual for me to take squirrels with my .32.
I always thought I would take a turkey with it too someday.

I doubt much real difference between .32 and .36.....whichever you like/find I'd say.

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